It’s been nearly two years since we started working with the Associated General Contractors of Kansas on its Build Up Kansas campaign. Its goal is to increase positive awareness for careers in the state’s commercial construction industry, but even more so, connect young adults directly to these careers at Kansas companies.
A Concrete Foundation
When we began in 2018, we had a simple toolkit that included a single-page microsite communicating benefits of construction careers to adults aged 17-22. Fast forward to today and Build Up Kansas’ online presence provides pathways for those who want to join the industry right out of high school and those who would prefer a college degree.
Listening to student and faculty feedback across the state, we heard loud and clear there was a need to share more stories detailing the different jobs, what a day in the life might look like and why there is such a demand. In response, we’ve added a section to feature them. Because this industry is built on relationships and mentorship there is no shortage of stories to tell.
We started our stories with in-person, onsite video interviews to showcase the people, projects and skilled trades needed to build a community. Our goal was simple: get the real story from real people working on real projects in Kansas — and then educate recruits about benefits, pay and work-life balance.
Our first interview of 2020 had us in hard hats and work boots. Wes Shinkle is a carpenter foreman for a commercial construction company in Wichita — but he didn’t start at the top. His path to the industry took him out of college to what he thought was going to be a temporary concrete job.
Seventeen years later, Wes directs the carpenters working on what will be an iconic Wichita destination once completed: its new baseball stadium.
Building Up the Community
We interviewed a lot of people for the 2019 and 2020 Build Up Kansas campaigns, and each of them said they loved the same things about their jobs. Working with their hands. Getting outside and staying active throughout the day. Building up their communities — and that’s what the commercial construction industry offers. Every day, you see the work you’ve accomplished in your community. Each foundation laid. Every wall raised. New silhouettes to add to the skyline.